Letter in clerk's hand, signed by Key. Chase Papers, Library of Congress (micro 15:1084).
Grafton Va June 26th. 18611 Hon S. P. Chase
The Cincinnati papers of the 24th. inst. publish a letter from Gen'l Buckner to Gov. Magoffin dated at Louisville on the 10th. inst.2-- I enclose a copy-- This letter fills me with surprise, and its contents are as new to me, as they will be to yourself. I was in Kentucky at the time of the interview, but I have supposed that I had full knowledge of the facts.
Gen'l. Buckner had more than once solicited a personal interview with Gen'l. McClellan, to which no response had been made--on the 7th. inst he again telegraphed that he and Mr. Gill (Railroad Superintendent--an unconditional Union man) desired an interview: Gen'l McC----- thinking that perhaps Gen'l. B----- who was an old friend-- was waking up to the folly of Breckenridge & Magoffin,3 and might be reclaimed to the cause of the Union, instructed me, then starting to Louisville on other matters, to inform Gen'l. B----- that he would be pleased to see them at his residence -- I delivered his message & the parties went to Cincinnati on the 8th. & that night a conversation took place between them.4 I returned from Louisville & saw Gen'l McC----- on the 10th.--Gen'l. Rosecrantz & Larz Anderson being present.5 Gen. McC----- then informed us that his interview with Gen'l B----- had been inconclusive, unsatisfactory & fruitless: that nothing had resulted from it except the voluntary proffer by Gen. B----- to employ the State Guards of Kentucky in driving out any Confederate troops invading that state: to which he had replied that unless it was done very quickly, it would be anticipated by the forces of the U.S.
Not one word was said by Gen. McC of any arrangement, stipulation, or concession whatever. I was fully in Gen. McC's confidence, was especially interested & engaged in this Ky. matter, and I know that Gen'l McC's views of his own authority and of public policy were radically different from those contained in Gen'l. B's. letter. General McClellan is unable to comprehend Gen'l B's. utter misconception of him--the letter expresses the views presented by Gen'l B----- and represents them as an agreement by Gen'l McC. Nothing could be more incorrect-- Gen'l McC never imagined that his authority extended to any arrangement or stipulation or concession by which the action of the Gen'l. Government would be abridged or embarrassed: he never designed to to limit in any way the exercise of his own discretion: he never conceived that the neutrality doctrine of Kentucky was either constitutional or practicable; he never conceded that the people or soil of Ky.